Denman Village: The heartbeat of the Island
Located a short walk up from the ferry hill Denman Village stretches from the Denman Island Community Hall on Northwest Road to the Denman Island Bakery, around the corner on Denman Rd.
The Denman Island Community Hall is the spot to catch live music and theatre. Built in 1912, the Hall is a centre of “downtown” activity, and its grounds also host the soccer field, baseball diamond, tennis court, and children’s playground. In addition to the main concert hall, there is also the adjoined “Back Hall”, a smaller, more intimate venue that is used for music and other public gatherings. For entertainment listings, please see Concerts Denman.
The Denman Island Art Gallery is located above the Denman Island Senior’s Hall, and opens its doors for a lively series of summer art exhibitions. The eclectic exhibitions feature an impressive pool of local talent, and openings are held every second Friday at 7:30pm. For the Summer Gallery schedule, please see Arts & Crafts.
Next door to the life-sized wooden sculptures of Denman Dancers on the Senior’s Hall lawn, is Abraxas Books and Arts, a delightful store specializing in a wide range of books, art supplies, childrens' literature and toys, stationary, and featuring island handmade pottery. Abraxas is a great place to pick up a bird watching or mushroom identification guide for your tour of Denman or a Canadian novel for a relaxing read on the beach or at the cottage.
Around the corner on Denman Road you will find outdoor picnic tables on the sunny lawn of the Denman Bakery and Café. Residents and tourists alike can’t seem to get enough of Bill’s handmade pizzas and organic sourdough bread.
After stockpiling treats for your afternoon trek, have a pop over to the Denman Island Craft Shop, home to an ever-evolving collection of local arts and crafts, cooperatively run by a talented group of Denman Island women.
Continue east on Denman Rd. for a glimpse of Island heritage. The Denman Island Guesthouse was built almost 100 years ago, and features an incredible Wisteria vine on the front porch dating back to those early days. Owner’s Donna and Sheldon run the B&B as well as the on-premises bistro, and the Earth Club Factory, a company dedicated to ensuring the stability of the environment through the promotion of eco-technology products.
Ocean adventures abound!
If you enjoy spending time on the water, a Denman sea kayak experience should not be missed! A popular paddling destination is Sandy Island Marine Provincial Park located off the northern tip of Denman. It is renowned for rare wildlife and plants. Also referred to as Tree or Seal Island, Sandy Island became a marine park in 1966 when its 81 acres were recognized as a tropical ecosystem in need of protection. The warm water is ideal for swimming, and the beach is comprised mostly of white sand and ancient native midden (shell). Fires are banned year round and there is no fresh drinking water available on the island, but there is a dedicated camping area nevertheless. Nestled among a beautiful stand of ancient Douglas fir trees, it has picnic tables with award-winning scenery and comfortable places to pitch a tent.
Other popular places to visit by kayak include the Chrome Island petroglyphs off the south tip of Denman Island, and nearby Hornby Island, especially on Friday nights when you can catch some live jazz at the pub on the beach!
Denman Conservancy Nature Reserve
Travelling north from Denman Village along NorthWest Rd. will give you a glimpse of Denman’s rural landscape. Continue for 2 km then make a right turn at the three way stop sign and travel east on Lake Road for 1 km. Watch for the Denman Conservancy wooden signpost on the left and turn into the Nature Reserve. The Denman Conservancy Association has created a short path that meanders close to the edge of Chickadee Lake while respecting the fragile habitat of marshland animals and birds. While strolling along the path, be sure to check out the beautiful hand carved and painted signs that guide visitors through the wildlife found in the refuge. Please note that fires and camping are strictly prohibited in the Reserve.
After walking through the reserve, you can resume your tour to Fillongley Provincial Park by continuing east another 0.3km on Lake Rd. to Central Rd. The surfaces of both these roads are gravel, but they are wide and without high traffic. Follow Central Road 2 km across the bridge and over the marsh. Pause here for a picture-perfect break, and to appreciate the wildlife sanctuary of this watershed.
After the bridge, Central Rd. becomes Pickles Rd. and ends in 1 km at the top of Denman Hill. There is a picturesque panorama of the Beaufort Mountain Range to be enjoyed as well as the local art and scrawls on the “Graffiti Fence” before you turn left on Denman Rd. Continue on this paved route for another 2.6 km until Swan Rd. appears on the left. Follow the signs to the Park entrance.
Fillongley Park faces Hornby Island to the east and its long sandy beach is a perfect spot to catch the sunrise. Swimming at Fillongley is best when the tide is high, and beachcombing is ideal when the tide is low. Check the local tide times to avoid disappointment. There is more to Fillongley than the beach! This park also has nature paths along Beadnell Creek, through old growth cedar and fir trees, and into expansive meadows. Remember to keep your dogs out of Beadnell Creek as it is a sensitive spawning habitat!
Windy Marsh Farm
Windy Marsh Farm is a wonderful produce stand located on the route from Fillongley to Boyle Point Provincial Park where you will find a great selection or organic fruits and vegetables along with a quaint gallery of folk art at “Artwork on Old Things”. For happy eaters and the art-curious, Windy Marsh is not to be missed!
Once you have left Fillongley, take a left on Denman Rd., and enjoy the spectacular view of the Coast Range Mountains beyond Hornby Island as you make your way to Denman’s east side. Denman Rd. turns right and becomes East Rd. Follow East Rd. to Owl Cres. where you will turn right and travel for half a kilometer before arriving at Bob and Velda’s Windy Marsh Farm. The stand is open from dawn until dusk everyday, selling an unbeatable salad mix, free range eggs, jams, jellies, and seasonal produce to please any palate. Make sure you take some time to explore “Artwork on Old Things” and maybe take home a unique piece painted by Velda! Velda's original art captures quintessential Denman Island rural living.
Boyle Point Provincial Park
When you are ready to make your way to Boyle Point Provincial Park, head back to East Rd. and take a right. Carry on south for another 5.4 km, and then continue past the Honrby Island ferry landing another 2 km to the park entrance. This park has a decidedly different feel from Fillongley: it rises 20-40 meters above the rocky shores. The high elevation gives Boyle Point several amazing vantage points, with views of Eagle Rock, Hornby Island, Chrome Island and Vancouver Island. The forest trail that loops through the park is an easy one-hour hike. Wildlife lovers will find bald eagles, great blue herons, kingfishers, ducks, sea lions, seals and even sometimes whales at Boyle Point.
If you are heading back to Denman Village, you can leave Boyle Point via East Rd., then turn left on McFarlane Rd. to cross back to Denman’s west side. Turn right on Lacon Rd., and follow it along the coast. Turn left on Denman Rd. and you’ll find that you completed a complete loop of Denman Island!